Is your child going to take up a part-time job this summer, will he be hanging out with friends all day or will he be
getting bored at home? Here's why a light job can go a long way in
making your child more responsible.
The sooner your child starts work, the sooner he will start shouldering responsibility. While children in the West often undertake light summer jobs during their vacation, this is not so common in India, largely due to the fact that labour is not as scarce in India
as it is abroad. However, if your child does get an opportunity to work
for a month or two in your office or with someone trustworthy, there is
no reason for you to deny him the opportunity. Don't force your child
to work against his will. But if given the opportunity, you will see
that most children will jump at the idea of getting a part-time job in the summer vacation.
The general tendency in India is to believe that the father or parents should be the bread earners, and that children should focus on their studies. They seem to lose sight of the fact that personality development is just as important if you want your child to succeed. Naturally the
money earned by your child can go into his account, and even though the
amount may not be large, it will accumulate over the years, and your
child may have a decent bank balance by the time he graduates.
Even if your child's job consists of nothing more challenging than addressing envelopes,
don't discourage him from taking it up. Once your child starts
attending office, he will develop a feel of workplace culture at an age
younger than his peers. He will also be exposed to different people, of
different age groups. Until now, most of his mixing would be with
peers. But the minute your child starts working, he will be exposed to
people of various ages, and he will get to see things from an adult's
When children are in school or even in colleges in India,
they are leading a sheltered, cocooned existence, and have little or no
exposure to the real world. As a result, they are not always aware of
the various choices they have. Children
are limited to the exposures of their peer group and their family, and
work broadens this exposure. It also takes them a step further to
making a career choice. A clerical experience at a law firm will give
your child an insight into the way lawyers work, and may help him
decide that he wants to do law. Similarly, if your teenager works as a
salesgirl in a shop for a few months, she may realize that she has a
knack for fashion, and get into fashion designing.
More important than career exposure, however, is
the exposure to shouldering responsibility. Everyone probably remembers
their first job, and the thrill they had at earning their first salary.
Such a boost, when given to a child, goes a long way in building his
confidence and moulding his character.
In India, if our children want something bigger like a toy, or a musical instrument, parents don't even dream of getting their children to earn it themselves. Instead, we ask our children
to behave themselves, study harder, and if they are good boys or girls,
we will fulfill their wants. Often these wants get fulfilled on their
birthdays or on some occasion, irrespective of whether or not they have
been 'good'. If instead your children
get to buy what they want with their own money, the joy and
satisfaction will be so much higher. In addition, you will be putting
your children on the right path by showing them the rewards of work.
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- The Indiaparenting Team